For 2021, two-time WEC LMP2 champions (2016 and 2018-2019 superseason), Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team, take a step forward in entering the Hypercar class.
Introduced in 2021, Hypercar forms the new premier class of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Open to unique prototypes and cars based on road models, it imposes fewer regulations than LMP2, but the chassis and engines remain subject to ACO and FIA approval.
Where the WEC’s LMP2 class is reserved for independent entities with one of the mandated chassis’ and a single-engine, the Hypercar class welcomes factory teams freed from such restrictions resulting in higher performance thanks to more power and more refined and complex aerodynamics.
This season marks Alpine’s eighth endurance race season, the first in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s premier category.
Approved by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile as the Alpine A480, the prototype that the Alpine Elf Matmut Endurance Team will contest was initially designed and built to meet the technical regulations for the non-hybrid LMP1 category and is based on the Rebellion R13 designed by Oreca.
It is powered by the Gibson Technology GL458, a naturally aspirated aluminium DOHC 4.5 litre port injection 90° V8. It will run with Michelin tyres, in accordance with the regulations of the Hypercar class.
‘Motorsport is inseparable from Alpine,’ Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine, said on the new programme’s launch. ‘After eight successful years [in LMP2], it is now time to join the top category as the brand makes a new start. The regulations’ evolution offers us the opportunity to express our passion, demonstrate our technical know-how, and our experience in a fair and cost-effective framework.’
To ensure sporting equity, the FIA and the ACO use a Balance of Performance (BoP) formula jointly designed by both parties and tailored to this new category’s needs. The BoP also helps to combat inflation in development costs.
The Alpine A480 will compete against the Toyota Gazoo Racing squad’s GR010 and the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 007.